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Space_Cowgirl

AKC Ethics

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Guess your last post makes me kinda curious, then, so I gotta ask, are you pro or con on the conformation breeding thing? I ask, as, in an earlier thread, I got a strong impression you were very much for conformation breeding. And by asking this, I'm not trying to get you crucified here, just making sure I'm not confused on your stance. Also, I'm not going to say that if your pro conformation, that makes you a bad person, in general.

 

 

I don't breed purely for show, and very few of my pups go strictly for stock work, several have though , turning out to be good practical dogs on a day to day basis, if they would succeed at trials I don't know, they were not purchased by people who were interested in trials.

 

The majority of my pups do go for some sort of hobby , agility trials obedience and SAR.

 

I don't think the UK Border Collie has gone as far along the road as the Australian lines,with the majority of UK breeders still incorporating ISDS lines into their breeding stock, guess its because we are still very close to the days when as somebody very sweetly put it, we dragged the BC out of the barn into the showring.

 

I guess what usually gets my back up is the continual negative approach from the majority of the herding community who think their way is the "correct way"

I tend to feel a little protective of the BC as I feel it is my national breed, forget the Bulldog spirit, I'd rather see the BC as the UK national dog LOL...........

 

The conformation breeder in the UK still firmly believe that a dog bred for the showring can and will work given the chance, not all obviously just as a herding bred dog doesn't always reproduce itself.

 

Now I am going to put myself in the firing line here and I wasn't going to put my thoughts in print but you asked so here goes........ Just as you believe that a continually show bred dog is going to lose the herding traits, then I just as frimly believe that allowing any dog regardless of what the background is to be registered on merit is also not the way to go to preserve the spirit of the Border Collie, after all if the dog is a mix then surely it is also introducing genetic traits from the other breed that may be mixed in and also slowly change the traits that make the BC so famous worldwide, what you are going to end up with (and I am not saying its going to happen overnight) is a herding dog, but not necessarily the BC we know today.

Karin

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>I guess what usually gets my back up is the continual negative approach from the majority of the herding community who think their way is the "correct way"<

 

Breeding dogs who actually work is certainly the "correct" way to breed for future dogs to work livestock is it not?

 

>The conformation breeder in the UK still firmly believe that a dog bred for the showring can and will work given the chance, >

 

I'm sure the conformation breeders in Australia thought that too, probably still do...

 

>not all obviously just as a herding bred dog doesn't always reproduce itself.>

 

And now I will ask again a question I asked you three times in another thread and you never answered -- do you believe the odds are the same, in general, of getting a top notch worker from work-proven parents vs parents not selected for work?

 

If you believe the odds are the same, do you believe the generations of working border collie breeders were/are just too stupid to realize there's no point in trying so hard to select for working traits?

 

I'm sure you consider some traits in the parents of your dogs important to select for the next generation. Do you believe heritability of herding traits do not follow these same laws of genetics?

 

>I just as frimly believe that allowing any dog regardless of what the background is to be registered on merit is also not the way to go to preserve the spirit of the Border Collie, after all if the dog is a mix then surely it is also introducing genetic traits from the other breed that may be mixed in and also slowly change the traits that make the BC so famous worldwide, what you are going to end up with (and I am not saying its going to happen overnight) is a herding dog, but not necessarily the BC we know today.<

 

I think there are several barriers to you understanding why this is accepted in the working community. The biggest one may be that you underestimate the standard of work required to attain an ROM. All this talk of a basset hound could do it, etc., is strictly in theory because a basset hound could never do it. Period.

If a dog is working to the strict border collie standard required by an ROM, then border collie genetics, defined by a work standard, are most certainly there. This is not something you can just train any dog to do. The genetics must be there to a high degree. In reality, most dogs that are ROMed look and act like border collies because they will be pretty close to the normal border collie genetics to work to that standard.

 

Denise

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>>I think there are several barriers to you understanding why this is accepted in the working community. The biggest one may be that you underestimate the standard of work required to attain an ROM. All this talk of a basset hound could do it, etc., is strictly in theory because a basset hound could never do it. Period.<<

 

People who think a basset hound can obtain a ROM since they think it is so easy...

 

Stop the talk and Do the Walk.

 

Don't be the authority on it until you have actually DONE it!

 

Diane Pagel

Carnation, WA

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Hi Karen,

 

To be in any position to debate these issues with a herding community, you will need to:

 

1. isolate the talented Herding Dogs in Conformation lines and PROVE them at Herding (to a high level).

2. improve and concentrate Herding Ability with each new litter.

 

After a lifetime of perseverance, I believe you will have your own line of proven Herding Champions from Conformation lines. Fortunately, there are knowledgable and experienced members of this community who will be able to assist you every step of the way.

 

I wish you well, and hope you decide to take up the challenge!

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Q

Breeding dogs who actually work is certainly the "correct" way to breed for future dogs to work livestock is it not?

A

Of course it is unless other elements are added that will subtly alter the way they work

 

 

Q

I'm sure the conformation breeders in Australia thought that too, probably still do...

A

I do not live in Australia ,so cannot speak for the Australian breeders.>

 

Q

And now I will ask again a question I asked you three times in another thread and you never answered -- do you believe the odds are the same, in general, of getting a top notch worker from work-proven parents vs parents not selected for work?

A

until somebody can lay figures out in fromt on me to prove that every puppy born from working parents is able to work and every pup from conformation breedidng doesn't then I think I probably would have to say odds on.

 

 

Q

If you believe the odds are the same, do you believe the generations of working border collie breeders were/are just too stupid to realize there's no point in trying so hard to select for working traits?

A

Personally I am too polite to call anybody stupid, but for every one person who studies their pedigrees there another 10 who go to Mirk, Fly Toss or trim down the road because its convenient!!

 

 

Q

I'm sure you consider some traits in the parents of your dogs important to select for the next generation. Do you believe heritability of herding traits do not follow these same laws of genetics?

 

A

Of course and as you know traits can also skip generations .

 

 

Q

there to a high degree. In reality, most dogs that are ROMed look and act like border collies because they will be pretty close to the normal border collie genetics to work to that standard.

 

A

That is not the point I was making at all, You have to agree the genetic traits of a Retriever or similiar differ from those of a Border Collie,

if other traits are introduced they have to influence the offspring to a varying degree .

 

 

as for walking the walk, well if anybody can point me in the direction of a trainer who lives in reasonable proximity to me I am more than willing to give it my best shot.

 

For every crap dog there may be a good trainer for every good dog there may be a crap trainer, I am just afraid I am bound to follow in the second category!!

Karin

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Originally posted by Eileen Stein:

http://www.champdogs.co.uk/breeder/5706.html

Thank you for that Eileen, nice pictures aren't they

 

Unfortunately on this site couldnt list everything my pups have done, as I have said before(and I know you don't count it as much) my dogs have done agility obedience SAR( also the first winner of the SAR international) also Kali who still herds sheep on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent 7 years old and still going strong!

Karin

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Well, yanno, it's been said before, but I believe it can never be said enough....breeding of any Border Collie should absolutely not occur, unless proven on stock. Now, this is a qualification statement for the good of the breed. My expertise in no way grants me any authority to quantify that, however. So, the question becomes, then, how far should that be taken? Obviously, if it was taken to the extreme level of, say, only national champions should be bred, well then, the gene pool would probably be too small to breed, yes? The thing here, though, is noone is saying every dog in a litter, from proven working parents, will absolutely exhibit perfect herding traits, but I'm sure the chances are a damn sight better, than dogs which have been bred for appearance for a few generations, never worked sheep, and quite likely have extremely watered down working traits. I'm quite sure that the development of this breed came as a result of selection of certain traits from other dogs, and the thought of bringing them together for the desired end, which is how we have the dog we do today. BTW, by traits, I'm meaning working traits and mannerisms, not aesthetics, as I'm quite sure those that developed the breed had no idea of what the finished product would look like, nor did they care.

 

Let me create one of my analogies, which I like to do, but usually mess up real bad...

 

Lets say you are being forced to change from a well water system, to city water, and are told that the piping from your home to the roadway is your responsibility. So, you need a trench for the piping, right? Then, to dig this trench, are you going to go out and hire a Caterpillar backhoe, or an Aston Martin convertible? That Aston Martin would sure look good in front of your home, but it won't get that trench dug, it just wasn't built for that, eh. Caterpillar is glad you needed their backhoe, but yanno, sales are not up to snuff, they need to increase revenue. So, now, the Caterpillar folks need to increase their sales on backhoes. Hmm, the thought is that if they spice up the appearance, sales will increase. So, they hire the Aston Martin design team to revamp their backhoe, cuz boy is that convertible sharp to the eye. The design team says, yanno, this bucket is bulky and the swing just is gonna get in the way of these new aesthetic fascia plates, and thus, design out the size and mobility of the bucket, cuz they've been hired to improve the visual, not maintain the application. Guess what, now that backhoe is much more aesthetically pleasing, but can't dig the same trench. So now they do repeated design iterations and presto, that daggone obtrusive looking bucket disappears entirely. Sure becomes quite a useful backhoe, doesn't it?

 

I guess my point is, myself, I don't care what that backhoe looks like, as long as it gets the trench dug. Those that developed the Border Collie breed, and those that utilize it today, for what it was developed for, could care less about the dogs appearance, but more, that it accomplishes what they require, i.e. move the sheep. Sooo, just as the Aston Martin design team has no expertise in revamping the Caterpillar, and its intended application, so to, breeding of Border Collies should be left to those with the expertise necessary to not only maintain, but better the breed, not in aesthetics, but working traits.

 

Okay, LOL, as usual, I probably messed that up, so I'll sign off now....Ciao

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until somebody can lay figures out in fromt on me to prove that every puppy born from working parents is able to work and every pup from conformation breedidng doesn't then I think I probably would have to say odds on.

 

I find this statement pretty amazing. So until *every* working-bred pup works and *no* non-working bred pup doesn't work, you think the odds are exactly the same of getting a working pup off working vs non working-bred parents?

 

If this is your line of reasoning, then there's no point in me discussing this with you further.

 

Denise

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Maybe my answer was a bit too cut and dried but I still say there are no studies that have shown that working traits are lost in a few generations.

You are quite right there is not point in going round in circles, you are saying that the working ability is bred out of conformation stock I do not agree, so there we have it no point in discussing it further.

 

 

As a matter of interest has anybody taken on a conformation bred dog and SERIOUSLY worked it or are all conformation dogs confined to the scrapheap after one training session???

 

You know what I think, even if somebody did take on the challenge, would anybody actually admit it could be done??

 

If I can get a trainer to help me with my dog on sheep what about one of this board doing the same??

Karin

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As a matter of interest has anybody taken on a conformation bred dog and SERIOUSLY worked it or are all conformation dogs confined to the scrapheap after one training session???
When I first started with the Border Collies I joined the local stockdog club out here (Utah). Several of the principal members were using dogs which were from conformation (and obedience and agility) lines. These dogs could do ok in some of the novice and pro-novice trials if the sheep were not too tough and the course was not too big. These handlers I'm referring to were (and still are) my betters in dog training, and I found their dogs' work very impressive at the time.

 

But we all get better and start to see that there's a lot more to stockdogs then moving around the sheep and lying down on command. As we gain experience working stock we see that there is a high level of proficiency demanded from the dog (and handler) if they want to perform at the top levels (or at a truly useful level, for that matter).

 

Within about a year of my joining the club, I saw that the serious conformation/agility/obedience people had decided their conformation dogs would never be able to compete in the USBCHA Open class (which is the real standard of work, the novice classes just being there for educational purposes). Sure, their dogs could do alright in the novice classes, but these dogs were mature and quite well-trained and they were competing with very young and green (though often very talented) dogs that would soon be moved to Open once they got a little seasoning. As these people were very serious about the herding thing, they saw that their original dogs were a dead end. They soon retired their conformation dogs and sought out pups and trained dogs from top USBCHA open handlers. A couple are running in Open now, doing pretty well, and another couple will be running competently in Open soon, I'm sure. The difference between what they can do with their dogs now versus what they were doing before is truly remarkable. Sometimes we talk about "the good old days" and these people love to laugh at how they could have ever expected their original dogs to do anything at all serious on livestock.

 

 

charlie torre

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Karen, regarding your example of border collies mixed with retrievers being allowed in the gene pool via ROM:

 

In a summary of previous herding studies ( http://www.stilhope.com/heritabilitysummary.htm ), I wrote:

 

"In a genetics book, Burns and Fraser (Burns and Fraser, 1966) cite previously unpublished work where crosses were done using the same Border Collie sire for both another Border Collie bitch and a Pointer bitch. Pups from both litters were observed at two week intervals from six weeks until six months for the development of herding ability and eye. By five months all the purebred Border Collie pups were showing herding ability and eye whereas none of the crosses did. ...This study would suggest that herding ability and eye are inherited as recessive traits. In contrast, other studies done by Burns crossing Border Collies lacking eye with Border Collies showing eye yielded pups that all had some degree of eye. The differences in results between the two Burns studies may indicate that determining heritability of herding patterns by crossing different breeds with Border Collies may prove futile."

 

Although too much shouldn't be read into these limited studies, they would suggest that true crossbreeds like you suggest wouldn't produce dogs that could pass an ROM.

 

To further ensure whatever non-border collie working genetics would *not* be passed on and change the breed as you fear, is the continuing requirement of only breeding dogs that meet the border collie work standard. In this way, only the border collie-type working pups from ROM dogs would pass on their genetics. And form will follow function to the degree that it is necessary.

 

If one only uses working pedigrees to breed from, and not true proven working dogs, I agree this could potentially be a problem just as it is with known purebred border collies unproven on stock.

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As a matter of interest has anybody taken on a conformation bred dog and SERIOUSLY worked it or are all conformation dogs confined to the scrapheap after one training session???

 

Charlie answered this question more eloquently that I could have, but I would like to point out that, again, this natural born ability is not something you can train into a dog. The genetics must be there to a high level to be considered good breeding stock. An experienced person can often see how much natural ability is in a dog in one session.

 

Denise

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Um, I don't know how serious it was, but when I first started trialling, a woman who went to the same trainer as I did had (still has) a conformation champion that she was training on sheep. She had been going to this trainer for at least a year or two before I started there and still goes there. I ran her dog a couple of times in novice-novice and we never managed to make it around the course. Before you say this was all the fault of the handler, I should say that one of my dogs won the N/N championship that year, so handling ability can't have played too large a role in the lack of success with the conformation-bred dog vs. the working-bred dog. That same dog is still going to that trainer and has never made it above novice-novice (short course, no driving required). He has AKC herding titles and is a popular stud because he is a merle.

 

In contrast, my 2.5-year-old working bred bitch qualified for nursery finals both years she was eligible (this being the last year she was eligible and nursery here in the U.S. being the full open course without a shed), ran novice-novice only briefly, has spent the past year in pro-novice where she wins consistently, and will move to open this fall, where I also expect her to do reasonably well, considering my lack of experience and her relative immaturity. Granted, this is anecdotal and based on one person's experience (mine), but I trial a lot and I can't say I've seen many (if any) conformation-bred dogs on the trial field (and these dogs are not to be confused with the working-bred dogs that are dual registered with one of the registries being the kennel club).

 

So from my point of view, if I wanted a dog to go win at dog shows with I would go to a breeder who is producing bench champions consistently. If I wanted a dog to do some serious herding, I wouldn't go to the conformation breeders. That's not because you absolutely won't find a good herder among conformation dogs, but simply that for my $$ I would have a greater chance of finding a good herding dog from dogs bred specifically for that purpose. And I started out in herding with dogs from rescue, so it's not as if I'm not open to alternate means of finding a herding dog. But still, now that I have herding bred dogs, I can objectively compare their abilities to those of my rescues (and I should add that the rescue I trialled is my "heart dog," so success with her on the trial field would have been awesome, and I still love her to death, even if she'll never make an open trial dog) and say that I wouldn't even go to rescue looking for a dog that is *most likely* to become a competitive open trial dog.

 

If you are at all familiar with horses I will use them as an example: If I wanted to have some hope of winning the Kentucky Derby and I had a choice between a thoroughbred that came from a long line of field hunters and show jumpers and one that came from a long line of horses bred for and raced on the track, I would invest my money in the latter. The field hunter thoroughbred *just might* make a good or great racehorse, but buying the horse that was bred to run just makes more sense. Just as someone who wanted a good working cow horse is more likely to go to bloodlines of proven cutting horses over those of conformation champions. It's common sense. And yes, if you had time and lots of disposable income I suppose you could take your chances with an animal from bloodlines that weren't quite consistent with the job you wanted to do, but most of us don't have lots of disposable income and lots of extra time to put in to making one thing into something else, so we do the common sense thing and buy that which is most likely to fill our need based on the "history" of its breeding. That's not a value judgement of one type of breeding over another but is simply common economic sense.

 

J.

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And now I will ask again a question I asked you three times in another thread and you never answered -- do you believe the odds are the same, in general, of getting a top notch worker from work-proven parents vs parents not selected for work?

A

until somebody can lay figures out in fromt on me to prove that every puppy born from working parents is able to work and every pup from conformation breedidng doesn't then I think I probably would have to say odds on. >>

 

I don't quite follow your logic here. You don't seem to understand what odds are. Suppose 99% of dogs born to working parents could work (to a high enough standard to be useful), but only 1% of dogs born to conformation-bred parents could work (to the same standard). In that case, not every pup born from working parents would be able to work, and not every pup from conformation breeding would be unable to work. So you are saying in that situation the odds that your pup would work would be equally good if it came from working-bred parents as if it came from conformation-bred parents???

 

That is not the point I was making at all, You have to agree the genetic traits of a Retriever or similiar differ from those of a Border Collie,

if other traits are introduced they have to influence the offspring to a varying degree . >>

 

Perhaps you don't realize that the border collie is an amalgam of other types of dogs, including hunting dogs and whippets, who were bred to the early sheepdogs for the purpose of improving their working ability? You might take a look at http://www.bordercollie.org/kpwhere.html , or other accounts of what genetics went into the border collie breed. The breed has at this point been brought to such a high working standard that infusions from other breeds don't usually raise its working ability, but in rare cases they might, and it would only be continuing the tradition of breeding to enhance working ability that produced the border collie in the first place.

 

>

 

Yes, they are. I notice from the two pedigrees provided, however, that you don't seem to be one of "the majority of UK breeders" who you said earlier are "still incorporating ISDS lines into their breeding stock." It appears that all the dogs in your pups' pedigrees are KC dogs, and the only titles given for any of them are New Zealand and UK conformation championships.

 

>

 

Perhaps not, but in that case I assume you'd use what space you had there (and on your other linked sites) to list those things that you consider important. The fact that you've used it mainly to talk about colors (which could easily be seen from the photos) tells me that's your priority.

 

>

 

I don't doubt your dogs (I take it you mean pups you've bred?) have done agility, obedience and SAR. Unfortunately, I've heard claims so often about how conformation dogs "work sheep all week and then win in the ring on weekends," which turn out not to be true when followed up on, that I just can't get too impressed about a claim as vague and unverifiable as the Isle of Sheppey dog. I'm not saying it can't be true -- just that I'd need to know a lot more about the facts before I'd know what weight to give it as evidence for your side.

 

BTW, I'm puzzled why you seem to think it's unusual for a border collie still to be working at seven years old. Stuart Davidson's Star was 8 1/2 when he won the International Supreme a year ago, and that is not unusual. Rare indeed is the good working border collie who is not still on the job at age seven.

 

>

 

The trouble is that this opinion is held by people who know little or nothing about working ability, is based on no evidence, and flies in the face of the principles of genetics and the observations of those who do know something about working ability. But hey, don't let that stop you!

 

>

 

Karin, you have no idea the blood, sweat and tears that would go into trying to train a conformation-bred dog to work livestock to a useful standard. We would probably take that on if there were good reason to think we'd have a useful dog in the end. I doubt you'll find anyone who'll take it on just to prove a point that most of us aren't in doubt about.

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I have to be careful that Molly, now pushing 12, doesn't hurt herself working. It was a toss up last week between taking her to help with a move that she dearly loves and protecting her from harm.

 

I took her.

 

The move was about five miles long. The first half mile is on pavement, followed by about three and a half through the woods at the foot of a hill, including crossing three footbridges. The end of the move is along a closed road. The balance is along a closed highway.

 

She was stiff that night, but I have never seen a happier dog.

 

If a dog had quit working on me by the age of seven, I would be very disappointed indeed.

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Ahh, I see the A Team is here now. These are now people who, I believe, can and are presenting better, more concise and factual, information on "working" dogs, the genetics, etc., etc., than what I can hope to. Sooo, I'll bow out now, so the real information can flow....

 

Trust me though, I'm gonna lurk so I can learn some things, myself.

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I worked at an all breed herding training facility

for almost 1 year, doing instinct testing and teaching beginners. We had quite a few dogs come through the facility in that time. I can't remember any Border Collie's from non working lines that had much ability. I also have worked in a facility whose main focus is on AKC/AHBA/ASCA type herding trials. OF the Border Collie's that are trialed there, most all are conformation dogs trying to get dual titles. Most could not work. One dog that gained an AKC herding Champion title could not gather a small flock of sheep out of a small field. This is only based on my own observations, but I observed a lot of dogs during this time. I am only a pro-novice handler and have very limited experience in that also, but I have worked some USBCHA trials and I have taken clinics with some Big Hat handlers through the years. I can tell the difference between a dog with working ability and one without. The more I work with my own dogs the more I realize the intricate complicated traits that go into a top working dog. It is not just training the dog to follow commands.

Joan

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Just to let you know that I am now refraining from posting on this board, the reason??? well following Eileens very kind link to Champdogs, I have had a spate of emails to that site, some childish in the extreme,my 12 year old is more eloquent, to petty, spiteful and verging on the abusive, needless to say none had the courage of their convictions and actually posted a name!

This is not the example I expected from a list such as this and indeed on the many lists I have been on I have never experienced anything like this at all.

 

There were some points raised in previous posts that I would have liked to answer but whats the point, I do not intend to lay myself open to more abuse, perhaps if I had not been honest enough to use my own prefix instead of a sign in I.D. this would not have happened.

 

I am very disappointed that a group of people that I thought had integrity should have members

who stoop so low.

 

To all the genuine people on this board, we will probably always disagree but I never felt any real animosity. Enjoy your dogs as I do and good luck

Karin

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I find it very, very hard to believe that anyone on these boards would email you with private abuse. I don't see why they would be motivated to do that, and I don't see what good they would think it would do.

 

If you would be kind enough to forward copies of the emails you received to me at [email protected] I would appreciate it very much.

 

I don't really see why this is a reason for you to leave the BC Boards. Especially if, as your last paragraph implies, there are people here you like and enjoy talking to. Why don't you just treat it like spam and ignore it? Why let rude and anonymous emailers influence your life to that extent?

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In case you might have missed this, Karin asked if anybody could point her in the direction of a trainer, and said she is “more than willing to give it (her) best shot”. I suppose this is regarded as “lip service” from another evil Conformation Breeder. I applaud Karin for seeking further direction, and being prepared to develop the herding talent in her own lines.

 

"For every crap dog there may be a good trainer for every good dog there may be a crap trainer". I agree. I wish we could settle this matter scientifically. It is like trying to compare a potential Obedience Champion and clueless trainer, with an average dog and accomplished owner. I bet I could get almost any dog titled in Obedience! I suppose I could turn myself into a self-styled Obedience Expert, disapproving of everyone else who has not yet succeeded in the sport.

 

“As a matter of interest has anybody taken on a conformation bred dog and SERIOUSLY worked it or are all conformation dogs confined to the scrapheap after one training session???” I understand your frustration Karen. Tuck's BC Buddy believes that “breeding of any Border Collie should absolutely not occur, unless proven on stock”. I'd like to add that breeding of any Border Collie should absolutely not occur unless it is with another Border Collie. "I don't care what that backhoe looks like, as long as it gets the trench dug". A hammer is a tool. A Tool is not necessarily a hammer. Try hammering nails into wood with a spade someday? Similarly, the Border Collie is a Herding Dog. A Herding Dog is not necessarily a Border Collie. The breed has evolved enough for me to be able to tell the difference between a Kelpie and a Border Collie.

 

Julie wouldn't go to “the conformation breeders" for a herding dog. A good conformation breeder will know their dogs, and will have shown an interest in developing their herding ability. If a Conformation breeder has a talented herding dog, then they will be able to prove it. "Economic sense": an oxymoron perhaps?

 

Eileen, I can’t speak for Karen, but if I had 1% of dogs with working ability, then I’d surely use them in further breeding programmes. "The Border Collie is an amalgam of other types of dogs, including hunting dogs and whippets, who were bred to the early sheepdogs for the purpose of improving their working ability?” We can tell the difference between a dog and a wolf these days. "The only titles given for any of them are New Zealand and UK conformation championships". Conformation Titles, especially in New Zealand and Australia, are extremely difficult to obtain. I, for one, am impressed. Eileen, the world is full of experts who "know it all”, and there are far too few people are willing to lend a hand. "I doubt you'll find anyone who'll take it on just to prove a point that most of us aren't in doubt about." Do I sense an expert with a closed mind?

 

Denise, you suggest that "an experienced person can often see how much natural ability is in a dog in one session." Good! Lets have those sessions then!

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Doug,

 

I stand by what I said, no border collie should be bred, that is not proven on stock. However, I'm certainly NOT going to disagree that border collies should be bred only with border collies. My disagreeing with that, would go against the whole underlying reason for my first statement, the ultimate betterment of the breed.

 

And later, you seem to think that Eileen is an expert with a closed mind, because she doubts someone would take on the task of training a conformation dog, just to prove a point that is highly in doubt anyway. Ummm, would you attempt to lift and move a 500lb. rock 50 ft., just to prove you could do it, when in your mind, you have serious doubts you'd even get it off the ground? Is proving that point worth the effort? Why would I try hammering nails into wood with a spade, when I have serious doubts that I'd ever get the nail driven in? But boy oh boy, that spade looks better than that hammer.

 

And finally, why is economic sense an oxymoron? If Julie feels she is going to spend her money more wisely, by going to a breeder of proven working lines, why would this not make sense? If you needed a vehicle to haul vegetables to market, would you buy a truck, or a sportscar? Which makes more economic sense to you?

 

Oops, one more thing. And Doug, there is a scientific way to obtain proof; put your top conformation dogs up against the top dogs of, umm, non-conformation stock, with the same handler, and same set of sheep, and on the same field, i.e. under the exact identical conditions.

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Doug, it's too much to quote so I'll reply to the essence of several of the areas you cover:

 

This is nothing like making an obedience champion. While some dogs may have greater or lesser propensity to make good obedience dogs, it is not an inbred talent per say.

 

Now I will say something that might piss some people off. It's quite popular it seems for people to think or say that their dog would be a great working dog in the right hands. They just know this is true. Well, some dogs are just going to make good ones out of themselves no matter who has them. The first two dogs I ever trained on stock made it to Open and qualified for the National finals. As much as I would love to take credit, it was just bred into them and my ineptness didn't matter that much. Multiple times, people who didn't have a clue have ended up with really, really good useful stockdogs. In fact, most people who actually use these dogs for work, don't have a clue but the dogs figure out the jobs. It's just bred into them, or should be. And it is these dogs that are the most important to breed from IMO - the ones who do it no matter what. The training may help or hurt of course but it's not the huge factor in having a good stockdog that many people seem to think.

 

As far as the conformation dogs not being tried, believe me, it's been done. The rare one might work to the proper standard but the overwhelming majority of them are a wash even as something useful. I don't need to bang my head on the wall but just so many times to prove to myself it hurts. It's been done to death. I'm sorry that you aren't satisfied with that.

 

As far as conformation people knowing their dogs -- how does that give them any expertise about knowing how dogs should work stock? It's not all about knowing the dogs. In fact, it may be more about knowing stock than about knowing the dogs. It's not a simple thing. It can take a lifetime with stock to understand them and therefore understand when a dog is right on them. That's what is needed to evaluate them, not watching them herd kids or crouch at and eye balls.

 

Imagine if one of us started acting like we knew all about what it took to breed and make a conformation champion, even though we had no experience in it or knowledge about it at all. How seriously would you take our expertise? Breeding for behavioral traits is much more difficult than breeding for conformation traits. Why then would you think a non livestock working conformation person would even know enough to be able to tell if they had proper herding ability in their dogs? If they would, please explain the difference in my two examples.

 

I will quote this part:

 

I'd like to add that breeding of any Border Collie should absolutely not occur unless it is with another Border Collie. ..Similarly, the Border Collie is a Herding Dog. A Herding Dog is not necessarily a Border Collie.

 

Once again, if this is what you're referring to, dogs that are ROMed are not just dogs that "herd." They are dogs who work like border collies and to a very high standard. I simply cannot understand why nonstockdog working people can't get that border collies have a very advanced style of working due to their genetics and it is distinguishable from the working style of other herding breeds. We are not ROMing dogs that work like blue heelers just because they are dogs who will "herd."

 

I'm telling you as someone who, as an ABCA Director, has participated in ROMing several dogs -- they, for all practical purposes, have border collie genetics or they would not work like border collies at that high a standard.

 

Diane, could you or someone please post a picture of ROM Tess, for example.

 

If, on the other hand, people have specific work needs and cross border collies out to other breeds for that purpose, I say more power to them if they get the job done. Because getting the job done is what real work is about. These crossed dogs would not be ROMed unless they worked like border collies however.

 

Doug, in the real world, do you care what your surgeon looks like if he/she is competent? People still need these dogs for real work. Why should they spend the time and effort to try to make the conformation dog into something it isn't when they can go out and get something that does it right to start with.

 

I think it's very admirable of you to want to save the Conformation Border Collie. Have at it. However, having not made the mistakes that would cause us to need to save the working border collie, working people may not feel the need to put the same effort into it that you do. Good luck to you though. I really mean that.

 

Denise

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Doug,

Even though Tuck's BC Buddy hit the nail on the head, so to speak, I just thought I'd also speak for myself.

 

I don't quite see how you take the word "econimic sense" to be oxymoronic. If I have X amount of dollars I want to get the most for my money, that requires economic sense. (In the simplest terms, if a gas station is selling gas for $2 per gallon and the one half a block down the street is selling it for $1.75, does it make economic sense to stop at the first station? Only if you are independently wealthy or have so little gas that you can't make it to the station down the block. And as far as the former, most people who have money, have it because they spend it wisely. That's good economic sense!) If I need to plow a hundred acres of field, it doesn't make *economic sense* to take the money I have and buy a lawn tractor with a plow attachment instead of a farm tractor. To put it in animal terms, it doesn't make *economic sense* for me to go out and buy a pair of miniature horses that have won all sorts of halter classes when my money would be better spent on one draft horse or mule.

 

It's the same with working bred vs. conformation bred border collies. If people who support conformation breeding can't see the logic in that, then there's not much I can do about that.

 

As for someone taking the time to prove that a conformation bred dog can herd to a high standard, it's certainly not incumbent upon me or any other working bred aficianado to prove this for the conformation folks. If they want to make the herding ability claim, then they are the ones who should be out proving it with their dogs.

 

And since it was implied that none of us wanted to take Karin up on her request for a herding trainer, you should remember that most of us live in the U.S, and Karin lives in the U.K. so we are not exactly in a position to point her in the direction of a herding trainer convenient to her. That said, the U.K. is full of top handlers and trainers, so she shouldn't have to look too far to find one, if she really is willing to try her dogs at herding.

 

J.

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